Busyness is a Sign of the Times
My brain is always going. And I find idleness most annoying. Even in stillness my mind is racing. The only time I slow down is at night, to sleep, and, sometimes, early in the morning before I’ve had time to awake fully.
Usually, idleness tears away at my soul. And, usually, I am happy when I am busy.
This night, however, I intentionally sat in the car watching mist roll down from the distant hills overlooking Mount Sugarloaf. I was alone with my thoughts for some time.
Lacking input during this idleness, my attention was repeatedly demanded – most often to the car radio. Now, as I write this, I hear crickets singing; a box fan in the window; and see curtains gently blowing in the breeze.
I wonder: am I constantly busy because I crave busyness? Or do I crave busyness because I’m constantly busy.
Throwing aside both of these ideas, I present another: I’m a product of my environment; a young man who has grown up on the cusp of the digital age. In my preteens computers weren’t yet commonplace. In high school iPods became popular, so did text messaging. By college, everyone played Call of Duty.
That’s when my attention span began shortening. Idleness fled and hasn’t returned since, taking with it pieces of my personality.
As a young child I had an active, vibrant imagination. Now, I’m often lost in busyness – the daily grind of work, school, friends. Most of the time I drown in everything I have to do and push idless aside.
Stevenson wouldn’t agree with that philosophy.
He wrote in “An Apology for Idlers” that “extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.”
I’ll admit it: I’m living in a state of uninspired deficiency. This reveals itself in sloth (not idleness), binge watching Netflix; crap artwork; addiction to the internet, television shows, and other entertainment that feeds viewers confectionate experiences
Each day repeats the one before. And there’s little hope for societal change on the horizon, because technology continues to become more prevalent in American society.
I can change myself, though.